Twisted Past, Redeemed
The book of the genealogy of Jesus Christ, the son of David, the son of Abraham. Abraham was the father of Isaac, and Isaac the father of Jacob, and Jacob the father of Judah and his brothers, and Judah the father of Perez and Zerah by Tamar, and Perez the father of Hezron, and Hezron the father of Ram, and Ram the father of Amminadab, and Amminadab the father of Nahshon, and Nahshon the father of Salmon, and Salmon the father of Boaz by Rahab, and Boaz the father of Obed by Ruth, and Obed the father of Jesse, and Jesse the father of David the king. And David was the father of Solomon by the wife of Uriah… – Matthew 1:1-6
Check out last week’s sermon here.
Question: Are you ashamed of the things in your past?
You might agree that remembering the past can recall both happiness and sorrow. For every rosy recollection, there is usually the remembrance of that blunder you did to him, those cruel words to her, or the one thing you wish you could have done but failed to do. The remembrance of your sin can leave tinges of pain and embarrassment.
As a result, you choose to not bring up the past if you can.
Matthew’s Jesus *Genealogy
When Matthew penned his story of Jesus, he scanned his people’s past full of joys and many sorrows. Rather than sugar coating Jesus’ family line, he reveals the real genealogy showing the underbelly of humanity. Cheaters (Jacob), twisted adulterers (Judah and Tamar), prostitutes (Rahab), outsiders (Ruth), and a murderer (David) add a small taste of the sinfulness composing the line of Jesus. Why on earth would Matthew fill the written lineage of King Jesus with such filth?
Is Matthew combatting a lie?
Who did Jesus come to save? Some today proclaim that the work Jesus did to save you was to actually reveal your true identity. You were always special as God’s child, and Jesus came to pull back the shutters of your life.
Though it may sound nice to think about myself so positively, and there is a partial truth in our special connection to God (see Genesis 1:27, 31), Paul would beg to contradict the sentiment that we are naturally good (see Romans 3:23). Additionally, personal experience, that honest remembrance of my past recalls failure after ungodly failure, only ‘special’ by my unique ownership of each one (they are specially and uniquely my sins).
It could be then that Matthew is combatting the lie that his readers are good and worthy of God’s affections on their own. There is a benefit in remembering our many failures in order to fully see the counteracting miraculous work of the Savior. “**Our sins they are many, His mercy is more.”
Are you convinced that your past failures need to be corrected, fixed, perfected in order to receive Jesus’ love? Friend, Jesus calls you to fall at His feet, weary (Matthew 11:28-30) and sinful (Luke 5:32). The work Jesus does in human hearts is just like the work He did to His genealogy. He takes twisted and sinful things, and redeems them with His presence. Jesus’ genealogy is a glorious testament to grace. Let your life be the same.
*Andrew Peterson wrote a great Christmas album which includes this song about Jesus’ genealogy in Matthew’s Gospel. I recommend listening.
**His Mercy is More written by Matt Papa and Matt Boswell